Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Modern Warfare 3 achievement list revealed.

Modern Warfare 3 is out November 8 and for those of you itching to see what you need to do to get that gamerscore below is the complete list of achievements. Reading through the list there are achievements for both the single player campaign and Spec Ops mode but no multiplayer ones. Maybe Infinity ward are confident that players need no further encouragement to play online and I don't blame them.

*WARNING: SPOILER ALERT* The single player achievements go into quite a bit of detail about the games story line so if you want a spoiler free experience then just skip past the first 20 odd achievements on the list and read the rest.
  • Back in the Fight - 5G: Start the Single Player Campaign on any difficulty.
  • Too Big to Fail - 10G: Destroy the Jamming Tower. Complete "Black Tuesday" on any difficulty. 
  • Wet Work - 10G: Take back New York Harbor. Complete "Hunter Killer" on any difficulty. 
  • Carpe Diem- 10G: Escape the mountain safe house. Complete "Persona Non Grata" on any difficulty. 
  • Frequent Flyer - 10G: Defend the Russian President. Complete "Turbulence" on any difficulty.
  • Up to No Good - 10G: Infiltrate the village. Complete "Back on the Grid" on any difficulty. 
  • One Way Ticket - 10G: Make it to Westminster. Complete "Mind the Gap" on any difficulty. 
  • Welcome to WW3 - 10G: Save the US Vice President. Complete "Goalpost" on any difficulty. 
  • Sandstorm! - 10G: Assault the shipping company. Complete "Return to Sender" on any difficulty. 
  • Back Seat Driver - 10G: Track down Volk. Complete "Bag and Drag" on any difficulty. 
  • We'll Always Have Paris - 10G: Escape Paris with Volk. Complete "Iron Lady" on any difficulty. 
  • Vive la Révolution! - 10G: Reach the church. Complete "Eye of the Storm" on any difficulty. 
  • Requiem - 10G: Escape the city. Complete "Blood Brothers" on any difficulty. 
  • Storm the Castle - 10G: Discover Makarov's next move. Complete "Stronghold" on any difficulty. 
  • Bad First Date - 10G: Find the girl. Complete "Scorched Earth" on any difficulty.
  • Diamond in the Rough - 10G: Rescue the Russian President. Complete "Down the Rabbit Hole" on any difficulty.
  • The Big Apple - 25G: Complete "Black Tuesday" and "Hunter Killer" on Veteran difficulty. 
  • Out of the Frying Pan... - 25G: Complete "Persona Non Grata", "Turbulence", and "Back on the Grid" on Veteran difficulty. 
  • Payback - 25G: Complete "Mind the Gap", "Goalpost", and "Return to Sender" on Veteran difficulty. 
  • City of Lights - 25G: Complete "Bag and Drag" and "Iron Lady" on Veteran difficulty. 
  • The Darkest Hour - 25G: Complete "Eye of the Storm", "Blood Brothers", and "Stronghold" on Veteran difficulty. 
  • This is the End - 25G: Complete "Scorched Earth", "Down the Rabbit Hole", and "Dust to Dust" on Veteran difficulty. 
  • Who Dares Wins - 40G: Complete the campaign on any difficulty.
  • The Best of the Best - 100G: Complete the campaign on Hardened or Veteran difficulty.
  • Strike! - 20G: Kill 5 enemies with a single grenade in Single Player or Special Ops. 
  • Jack the Ripper - 20G: Melee 5 enemies in a row in Single Player or Special Ops.
  • Informant - 20G: Collect 22 Intel Items. 
  • Scout Leader - 35G: Collect 46 Intel Items.
  • This Is My Boomstick - 20G: Kill 30 enemies with the XM25 in "Black Tuesday."
  • What Goes Up... - 20G: Destroy all the choppers with only the UGV's grenade launcher in "Persona Non Grata."
  • For Whom the Shell Tolls - 20G: Destroy all targets during the mortar sequence with only 4 shells in "Back on the Grid."
  • Kill Box - 20G: Kill 20 enemies with the Chopper Gunner in a single run in "Return to Sender."
  • Danger Close - 20G: Take down a chopper with an AC-130 smoke grenade in "Bag and Drag."
  • Ménage à Trois - 20G: Destroy 3 tanks with a single 105mm shot in "Iron Lady.") 
  • Nein - 20G: Kill 9 enemies with A-10 strafing runs in "Scorched Earth."
  • 50/50 - 20G: Complete a Special Ops Mission Mode game with the same number of kills as your partner. 
  • Birdie - 20G: Kill 2 enemy helicopters without getting hit in a Special Ops Survival game.
  • Serrated Edge - 15: Finish a Juggernaut with a knife in Special Ops.
  • Arms Dealer - 20G: Buy all items from the Survival Weapon Armory. 
  • Danger Zone - 20G: Buy all items from the Survival Air Support Armory. 
  • Defense Spending - 20G: Buy all items from the Survival Equipment Armory.
  • Get Rich or Die Trying - 25G: Have $50,000 current balance in a Special Ops Survival game. 
  • I Live - 10G: Survive 1 wave in a Special Ops Survival game.
  • Survivor - 20G: Reach Wave 10 in each mission of Special Ops Survival mode.
  • Unstoppable - 40G: Reach Wave 15 in each mission of Special Ops Survival mode.
  • No Assistance Required - 20G: Complete a Special Ops Mission Mode game on Hardened or Veteran with no player getting downed.
  • Brag Rags - 10G: Earn 1 star in Special Ops Mission Mode.
  • Tactician - 20G: Earn 1 star in each mission of Special Ops Mission Mode.
  • Overachiever - 40G: Earn 48 stars in Special Ops Mission Mode.
  • Secret Achievement - 20G: Continue playing to unlock this secret achievement.
The modern warfare games (as much as I have bitched about them in the past ) I reckon are the best in the Call of Duty series. Then again the Modern Warfare games have had to compete with World at War and Black Ops. Which are good in the same way you praise a toddler for using the potty. So I'm really looking forward to MW3.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Retro Review: Wolfenstien 3D

I've been having so much fun playing all my old games that I thought I'd review another one. This time I've gone way back in gaming history to where it all began for the FPS genre. Before Battlefield, before Call of Duty, before Unreal and even before Doom, there was Wolfenstien 3D.

I've been playing Wolfenstien 3D since the early 90's. Back then I used to play it on my Dads thumping gaming PC that boasted 64 megabytes of RAM and had a huge 128 megabyte hard drive. It was the game that got me and many others into gaming. It's graphics were cutting edge with a fully 3D map to explore in first person. Unlike other 3D games at the time which had you merely rotate on the spot and just shifted images, Wolfenstien gave the player full fluid movement. Many things in FPS games today we take for granted, like cross hairs and reloading weapons, are non existent in this game. Adding further challenge even today. The game engine was all coded in hexadecimal format. If you're a programmer you will know that coding anything as sophisticated as this in hex would be a bitch. The engine is so solid the developers, I.D software and Apogee, held onto it and would be used to make great games like Doom and Doom 2.

Back in the day developers couldn't rely on a game selling well because it had shiny graphics or an awesome multiplayer experience. Games needed characters and rich plot lines that engaged you and kept you wanting more.Wolfenstien is the original world war two FPS. You play as B.J Blazkowicz, an american G.I who is captured by the Nazis and held in castle Wolfenstien. The first episode (which consisted of ten missions) is about B.J escaping from the castle and killing every Nazi in sight in a blaze of gunfire. Subsequent episodes had you fighting Nazi Zombies and even fighting Hitler himself. There are no cut scenes and the pieces of the story are revealed at the end of each episode and it is really well written. Although I'd like to have seen some more back story for B.J I can't say I.D software didn't accomplish what they set out to do.

There are two ways players can move about and shoot in Wolfenstien 3D. One was to move and shoot with just the keyboard. Which works well but I feel is restrictive. The other being to use the mouse to move and shoot and only use the keyboard for opening doors or switching weapons. I prefer to use the mouse because not only does it make taking out multiple enemies easier and quicker it also allows you to move as fast as you can move the mouse. While the keyboard movement was at a set speed, slow. Because there are no cross hairs aiming came down to just pointing the gun at the enemy. No head shots or blind fire here. Also while there is no cover system per-se enemies will tend to either charge straight at you or move in a pre-set pattern which usually had them moving from cover to cover. the easiest way to dodge bullets is to open a door blast away and then close it before the enemy fires back. Every gun used the same ammo type so conserving it was important. The instruction manual in the game states that you should fire in bursts. Seeing as it only takes three shots from any gun to kill the basic grunts (Brown shirts) who would then drop ammo this stops being an issue after level 1. While the game is focused on just charging about blasting everything it is possible in some levels to sneak up on someone or a group and launching a surprise attack. It doesn't make a difference as far as the game goes but if you feel like it or you're on low health this is a good thing to keep in mind. The only real problem with it is navigating the huge levels can be quite tricky because there is no in game map or navigation system and many rooms appear the same.

The graphics at the time set the standard for all FPS games to come after it. At the time many shooters were side scrolling platform games and Wolfenstien 3D showed that it was possible to make games with 3D universes to explore. However the game isn't truely 3D. The way it works is it generates a series of 2D images and either expands them or contracts them depending on how close you move to an object in game. If you open up the game in a sprite editor you'll see that all the sprites are smaller then they appear in the game. Even though this left the graphics blurry, they are so well drawn (All the sprites including the animation frames were drawn by hand on a computer by the way) that it made little difference to how the game played. Worth noting that the game is set in a Nazi castle so there are a million Swastikas and pictures of Hitler on the walls all throughout the game. So if you're offended by these images you might want to by the SNES or Atari Jaguar port of the game which has all of this removed.

Wolfenstien 3D was one of the first games to have voice actors. Each enemy you come across will utter some word in German before coming to attack and will say something else when they die. The in game music while all just a series of beeps and bops (Come to think of it, isn't that what techno music is?) it really set the mood for each episode. Also an 8-bit version of the Nazi party anthem 'Horst-Wessel-Lied' can be heard while in the games main menu. Considering having sound at all was a technological mervel it is amazing to see it not just there to show off but to add to the atmosphere of the game.

If you want to get a copy in its original, form I.D software is still selling it along with the prequel Spear of Destiny on its website for fifteen bucks. I think it's also available on Steam for around the same price. The free shareware version which is the first episode is also available here. It is a tiny download at only 30 megabytes and uses less than a megabyte of RAM it will not push the limits of even the weakest systems.

Every First person Shooter out there can trace its roots back to Wolfenstien 3D and without it would not even exist. Even 19 years after the games release it is still played and the mod community for it is still going strong. There are not many games that can claim this level of popularity. This game is a piece of gaming history and even if you hate first person shooters or you are a COD player through and through, if you are a gamer you must play this game.

9 and a half out of 10

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Retro review: Bushido Blade

For those of you who follow me on twitter you will have noticed this week lots of my tweets have had the hashtag #BushidoBlade in them. In that case you will know that I LOVE THIS GAME! Bushido Blade is a PS1 title brought out by Squaresoft. Yes, you read correctly, Bushido blade is one of the few titles Squaresoft made that didn't include the words Final Fantasy anywhere.

That being said I was quite surprised that I was able to finish the story modes of all 6 characters, on hard difficulty, in less than an hour. Then again Bushido Blade is a fighting game and not an RPG. Each characters story follows the same path with minor variations here and there. They all belong to a secret group of assassins that want to escape their life of doing assassin stuff for something that never really gets explained. Probably a quiet and peaceful existence or something like that. Only after reading the Wikipedia entry on the game did I realize that Bushido Blade is set in contemporary Japan. Then again that does explain the fight on a helipad up on a skyscraper.

Bushido Blade is very unforgiving, one slip up and you're gone. This would usually put me off a fighting game but for some reason as of the last few months I've been getting into them. Bushido Blade just struck a chord with me. Unlike most fighters there is no health bar and it's one hit kills, provided you hit the chest or neck. If you hit the legs or arms you can wound your opponent. Limiting how they move and the speed at which they attack. The controls are very simple to learn and you can start playing rather quickly. I had the controls worked out in 45 minutes and was fighting against my mates within an hour. From the basic controls which are very powerful and various in their own right one can expand ones fighting capabilities by performing combos. These combos not only differ from character to character but also change depending on what weapon you use as well. There are a variety of weapons from the traditional katana to a sledge hammer. The same weapon will be handled differently by two characters because some weapons are heaver than others and certain characters are better equipped to use heavier weapons. The trade off being that heaver weapons do more damage and their chance to hit ratio is high but at the cost of speed and agility. I don't know if it's because by PS2 controllers are old but the reaction time between imputing a combo and it happening on the screen is visible. Meaning that you really need to think one or two moves ahead to do well in this game.

Aside from a story mode there is one called slash mode where you basically have to carve your way through a hundred sword wielding maniacs. Unless you can do so without dying there is no reward for doing so. I spent many an afternoon trying and at about 30 kills or so I'd just miss or my timing would be slightly off and I'd get killed. Another mode is called POV mode. Instead of playing the game at the traditional side on view the game is played from a first person perspective. At first this is really confusing because the movement controls are mostly the same as normal. After a few minutes you get used to it and it makes the game more challenging. While on the subject of challenging this game is super easy. Even on hard difficulty the games A.I will not have you working a sweat to win. So anything that makes the game more challenging is a plus.

There is really no user interface to speak of. Then again you don't really need it. Without it the whole game looks very cinematic and makes the graphics seem better than they are. It's a PS1 title meaning the graphics are not great to begin with. Squaresoft working their 'we make games look pretty' magic on them has made it slightly better but it was never going to win any awards for them. Still reckon for that generation the Nintendo 64 had better graphics by a mile.

Although I have been playing the English version of the game all the voices are in Japanese with subtitles. Except for each characters opening cutscene which is in English. As well as the voice acting being Japanese the opening video for the game has all the credits (at least I think they're credits) in Japanese. Thankfully the menus are in English making menu navigation possible. The whole point of the game is to fight in the way of the Bushido but the music just makes you want to hack and slash like its God of War. But this issue with the music is only the western release of the game. My mate has the Japanese version and the music in that is much more fitting. It's all traditional Japanese music that is reminiscent of feudal Japan with samurai running about.

Multiplayer mode is why you play the rest of the game. So that you are good enough to fight your mates. This is a good game to have at a party with all your retro gaming mates. Fights here can last as little as 2 seconds or as much as 30 minutes. If you have a mate with a PS1, a copy of the game and a way to link two  PS1 consoles together you can actually LAN Bushido Blade. This is so that people can fight each other in POV mode. Haven't tried the LAN feature out so I don't know how good it is but I'm really looking forward to finding out. That is when I can find another western copy of the game.

This game is hard to find in shops so you're better off looking for it on eBay. The copy i have was only $5 AUD. Or if you have a PS3 you can get it on PSN really cheap. I had a lot of fun playing Bushido Blade and it is going to do so well into the future. This is a game that has so far stood the test of time and I think will last far into the future.

9 out of 10

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Retro review: Duke Nukem - Manhattan Project

These past few weeks I've been laid up in bed with the flu. Because of this I haven't been able to get any new (or old games) games to play and review. So I've been going through my collection and I stumbled across this. One of the last games made before the decade long development of Duke Nukem Forever.

The story is quite basic but that's expected when playing a Duke Nukem game. New York City is under threat by some cyborg nut-bag professor that has pig cops and kung-fu rats running amok and its up to Duke to save the world...again. To achieve this Duke has to travel across the big apple kicking arse and chewing bubble gum. Sersiously simple.

Duke Nukem - Manhattan Project brings back the classic side-scrolling platform gameplay were used to and brought it into the 21st century. With 3D (as in not 8-bit, none of this jumping out of the screen crap) graphics that really bring the arse kicking to life. However this does make navagating a bit tricky at times. DN-MP isn't as straight forward as press right arrow key, hold down fire key, win game. While much of the game will involve holding down either the left or right arrow keys, occasionally jumping to get to higher areas, at least once throughout a level   you will have to move along the Z-axis to access the next part of the level. An in game prompt will inform you when you've reached a place that requires this, when exploring the map these are not always obvious. I remember passing several of these from time to time and getting stuck in a level for ages while I retraced my steps. To reach the end of a level you'll need to find a keycard hidden somewhere in that level. Its worth going to the exit without a one to hear the Duke talk about his hatred for motherfu*#%ng keycards. The game gets a little repetitive as much of it is just looking around for the keycard then exiting the level. While to try and distract you from this apparent truth DN-MP has you searching for scantly clad women strapped to nuclear devices

There are a variety of weapons to be picked up throughout the game. But because most of them use the same type of ammo (how shotguns can fire the same type of ammunition as a light machine gun I'll never know) you'll end up sticking with the shotgun as it wastes the least ammo. Only once in the game did I need to change weapons to the RPG and that was to blast down a door I couldn't reach with pipe bombs.

As far as platform games go, even by today's standards, the graphics still hold up. It's really smooth up close but as soon as you catch a glimpse of the background you can really see how old the game is. Its the classic stretched out image tiled with an obvious cut line. Remembering this game came out in 2002, draw distances were still a really fancy piece of technology that nobody could afford and just made games look like they were set in places that were really foggy.

Music was very standard for a Duke Nukem title. Heavy metal music interspersed with Heavy metal. Not that this is a complaint. It gets you in the mood for arse kicking. The music does what it needs to do. Not a distraction but just blends in and when it needs to will make itself apparent. But most of the time there will be too much gun fire to hear it anyway.

At the end of the day I finished the game in an afternoon and if Duke Nukem forever pissed you off too much and you can't find your copy of Duke Nukem 3D this one is good for a few hours of entertainment. But as fun as DN-MP is it is quite apparant this was the beginning of the end for the Duke. For us console fans (A.K.A real gamers) it is available on Xbox Live arcade.

6 out of 10